News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Latch to Position and Bias a Module within a Chassis", for Approval

July 24, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Dittus, Karl K. (Durham, NC); Jensen, David J. (Raleigh, NC); Trumbo, Brian A. (Apex, NC), filed on December 28, 2012, was made available online on July 10, 2014.

The patent's assignee is International Business Machines Corporation.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to an apparatus to position and to bias a connector on an electronic module into engagement with a corresponding connector in a chassis.

"A modular electronic component, or module, is connected to another electronic device using a connector to enable the communication of data signals there between. For example, a module, having a connector, may send signals through the connector and to a second electronic device also having a connector that is engaged with the connector on the module. Connectors for electronic devices come in a variety of configurations including, but not limited to, pin and socket, pin and sleeve, parallel port, USB and serial connectors, to name a few. The connectors of the module and the second electronic device may be directly engaged or indirectly engaged through an intermediate structure, such as a midplane installed in a computer chassis.

"A midplane is generally an electronic interface installed within a chassis to support one or more electronic connectors on a front side and, optionally, one or more electronic connectors on a back side. A module having a connector may be coupled to a connector on the front side of the midplane or to a connector on the back side of the midplane. The two connectors generally require an insertion force in order to make up the connection. These types of connections may also be considered to be blind mate connections since the two connectors are out of view as they are being connected. Accordingly, the only point of control over the make up of the connection is at a distal end of the module.

"Connectors for electronic devices are generally manufactured to function notwithstanding normal manufacturing variations in the dimensions of the connectors. For example, a connector on a midplane and a corresponding connector on a module are each manufactured within certain tolerances to ensure that the sockets of the connector on the midplane will align with and receive the pins of the connector on the module and to ensure that when the pins of the module connector are received within the sockets of the midplane connector, the pins conductively engage the corresponding contacts in the connector on the midplane. To ensure conductive engagement between the pins and the contacts, the pins in the connector on the module are generally elongate in the direction of insertion into the sockets so that any variance in the depth of the corresponding sockets or the position of the contacts in the midplane connector does not prevent conductive engagement between the pins and the contacts of the connectors."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention provides a system comprising a module having a connector at a leading end of the module and a handle pivotally coupled to a trailing end of the module to pivot between an open position and a closed position, wherein the handle has a landing and a grip portion. The system further comprises a chassis having a bay, a connector disposed at a distal end of the bay, and a spring latch assembly connected to the chassis adjacent a proximal end of the bay, wherein the proximal end of the bay is open to receive the leading end of the module, and wherein the spring latch has a catch adjacent to a spring element. Receiving the leading end of the module into the bay to a first position aligns the connector on the module with the connector in the bay of the chassis and aligns the landing of the handle with the catch of the spring latch assembly. With the module in the first position in the bay, pivoting the handle from the open position to the closed position causes the landing of the handle to engage the catch of the spring latch assembly and then load the spring element, wherein loading the spring element imparts a reactive force to engage the connector on the module with the aligned connector disposed in the distal end of the bay.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a plan view of a bay in a chassis receiving an electronic module to position a connector on the leading end of the module in close proximity and alignment with a corresponding connector within the bay.

"FIG. 2 is the plan view of FIG. 1 after the connector on the module meets the corresponding connector and a landing on a handle pivotally coupled to the module is aligned with a catch in a spring latch assembly on the chassis.

"FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the module and chassis of FIG. 2 with the handle in an open position to align a landing on the handle with the catch in the spring latch assembly.

"FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side view of the module and chassis with the handle being rotated from the open an aligned position illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 to an intermediate position to engage the landing of the handle with the catch of the spring latch assembly.

"FIG. 5 is the cross-sectional side view of FIG. 4 showing the handle being pivoted further to a closed position where the spring head of the spring latch assembly is displaced against spring elements to impart a reactive force through the handle and the pivot pin to the module.

"FIG. 6 is the plan view of FIGS. 1 and 2 after the connector on the leading end of the module is fully connected to the corresponding connector in the chassis bay by application of the reactive force on the module using the spring latch assembly and handle."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Dittus, Karl K.; Jensen, David J.; Trumbo, Brian A. Latch to Position and Bias a Module within a Chassis. Filed December 28, 2012 and posted July 10, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4675&p=94&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140703.PD.&OS=PD/20140703&RS=PD/20140703

Keywords for this news article include: International Business Machines Corporation.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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